Design search fashionable thing to do 

1,500 voters have jumped online for Exposed design contest

By Nicole Fitzgerald

So who is going to win? Clothing designers supporting a line of panties they tag as blurring the line between under and outwear or the earth-conscious style of urban clothes made from organically grown products?

Audiences will decide as they log onto whistler2007.com to vote for one of four Vancouver-based fashion labels to win a clothing launch of a lifetime at the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival’s Designer Search and Expose contest, part of the Fashion Exposed runway extravaganza April 20.

“The festival’s desire is to showcase the best of what is happening in mountain culture, but also not make it so elite that we don’t allow new talent to incubate,” said Lisa Richardson, festival spokesperson. “The finalists’ innovation in their work is what makes this really exciting. They are grassroots emerging designs… The festival really celebrates how we express ourselves.”

Festival expression caters to mountain culture from start to finish. From athletes throwing themselves off jumps in Big Air events to artists creating top sheet designs for snowboards in Masterpiece in Motion to designers creating clothing in Fashion Exposed.

Mountain revelers love their sports, art and particularly fashion this year, with more than 1,500 Fashion Exposed voters already logging onto the contest to vote for their favourite designer.

The four finalists include Togs Designs, Twice Shy, Third Floor Designs and Megan Franklin Designs, which will battle it out for bragging rights as the best design talent in B.C., as well as for the coveted spot of showing the company’s line at Fashion Exposed where buyers from all over North America will be in attendance.

“Fashion Exposed is about showcasing the brands that are relevant to our audience,” Richardson said.

Former Whistlerite Jen McCormack, of Twice Shy designs, is a self-taught graphic designer who has created a line of cool urban clothing made from sustainable fabrics. McCormack’s goal was to prove to the world that sustainability is sexy. Panel judge Mark Little agreed.

“(Twice Shy was) very simple yet very cool. Love the organic feel without going granola.”

Innovation was what won judges over in selecting Third Floor Designs as well. The lingerie design company intentionally blurs the line between underwear and outerwear. The company was recently featured on CBC Venture’s Dreamers and Schemers and the design team was twice nominated at the Fashion Export Awards.

Not all the finalists are well established. Megan Franklin heard about the Fashion Exposed contest and within four weeks, she designed, pattern made, sewed and set up a photo shoot to create a ready-made line for the competition. Her hard work is paying off, with the judging panel complimenting her “attention to detail” and “designing garments with a greater level of pattern making and construction difficulty.”

Taking risks is what the festival and fashion industry are all about. Tabitha Savoie of Togs Design stepped outside of her graphic artist way, transforming her vision from computer screen onto screen printing, T-shirt pattern drafter and finally a full clothing collection. Judge Carolyn Simons praised her wearable art.

“(It is) very well put together as a collection, tying together silhouettes, colours and accessories.”

Vote for your favourite by visiting whistler2007.com. The deadline for public voting is Monday, March 26 at 5 p.m.

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